Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nocturne...Night Trail

A couple of days ago I had to spend a couple of days at my parents home in Pasadena, California. I took my plein air rig but didn't have time to go out to paint so I decided to just work on a nocturne study and to practice up on a dark scene with highlighted foreground. On the drive down I was thinking of looking for a scene with a large foreground tree up at Eaton Canyon but they lock the gate at night. There is a trail leading down into the canyon but I needed to spend some time with my folks so I just painted in the backyard and will leave the Eaton Canyon idea for another trip....I painted the scene I had in my head so all is good. A night trail in a nocturne is a favorite subject of mine so I added that too next to the tree. I've been looking at trees at night and when there is no moon the edges of the trees are super blurry. I added a moon here so my edges are a bit harder and more defined.

At the recent nocturne show I went to I saw some paintings that were so dark it was almost impossible to make out what the subject was. I might try one of those some day. That's going dark! One big problem with the nocturnes we saw was the glossy varnish had you break dancing to see parts without all of the shine. Add museum lighting and it made the problem worse. I'm not crazy about matte varnish so I'm still trying to figure out what to do about that problem. Here are some details of this one....

7 comments:

Alexandre Jay said...

Yes! I love this Ron. As you may have noticed, I'm a nocturne nut. This one is so atmospeheric with that wondrous starry sky and moon. I wonder where that path would lead me.....cool painting!

Helen Read said...

You've done a great job with this!

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Alexandre,
I'm like you and love doing these nocturnes. I love the intimacy and mystery they suggest. The trails are so much fun to include too. I'm doing the larger version of this one but it is beginning to take on a life of it's own. Not sure if I will put a trail in it at all. We'll see. Thanks!

Hi Helen,
Thanks too for taking a look at this one. Your comments are much appreciated.

Gavin said...

Think I must have missed this one in WC, but I remember your first attempts and it's great to see you're following up on perfecting the night paintings. I think you've totally nailed it - it's a light that most people hardly ever bother with, yet when I see them in museums (providing the glare isn't too bad, or the painting's not so old it's darkened beyond recognition), that always stand out. Impressive. If I ever try it, I must remember to totally blur those edges as suggested.
Zarathustra

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Gavin,
Oh man, the glare...I couldn't believe how bad it could be until I went to that nocturne show. The spotlights only make it worse. I've started out to repaint this image larger but messed with the composition and it has really become a new scene based on this one. The lighting and colors used are the same with minor changes there.
Not sure why it is but these night scenes are totally addicting to me. I love tyring to get that light just right or enhance it when needed or wanted. Lots of fun.
Thanks for the good words Gavin. Always appreciated.
Ron

Gavin said...

Always a pleasure to see your work Ron.
I imagine if even the big museums struggle with lighting, an art show using spotlights can cause a lot of headaches. Your photographs of the art are always top notch though; I guess much of it is down to capturing in the right light at the right angle.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Gavin,
You're absolutely right. Putting a frame around a painting can make it 100% better...adding great light can double that.

I've never thought much about lighting paintings hung in my house but I'm really re-thinking that. It does make a hugh difference in how people see your work. Thanks for the comments Gavin.
Ron